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CODE 98963
SEMESTER 2° Semester


The class illustrates the characteristics of digital cartography, where to find it and how to display, query, integrate it with the currently available geo-services and analyze it using GIS (Geographic Information System) free and open source software. The approach is very operational, with computer exercises dedicated to the natural (terrestrial and marine) and built environments, in different interdisciplinary areas of study.



The class provides the operational GIS (Geographic Information System) tools to search, visualize, query and manage digital cartography and the most widely used geo-referenced data and to carry out spatial analyses in the various fields of study of the urban and natural environments.


At the end of the class, the students will have acquired the theoretical and practical techniques to manage and analyze geo-referenced spatial data.

Students will then be able to:

  • use GIS software, with particular reference to free and open source software (in accordance with the directive of the Minister for Innovation and Technology of December 19, 2003 that encourages their use) to solve practical and interdisciplinary applications in different areas of study: land and environmental management, decision support, urban planning, geotechnic, hydrology, hydraulics, and transports, as well as management of surveys on digital cartographic support;

  • find, visualize, process, integrate and analyze cartographic data from various sources (municipal, regional, national cartographic geo-portals, ...);

  • identify the most suitable cartographic data and the necessary elaborations to obtain the expected result;

  • evaluate the obtained obtained as a function of the metric resolution of the cartographical data and the expected accuracy.

Students will also execise and develop the following transversal skills and competences (soft-skills):

  • teamwork with a collaborative and constructive attitude;
  • strategic and critical thinking;
  • effective communication and argumentative skills.

The class will thus enable Open Badges related to the previously mentioned soft-skills:

  • functional literacy - advanced level
  • personal competence - advanced level
  • social competence - advanced level
  • learning to learn competence - advanced level
  • project creation competence - advanced level




Frontal theoretical lessons followed by lessons in the computer room to put into practice the concepts learned during the theoretical lessons.

In the second half of the lessons, following the presentation of the topics on which the exercises will be carried out, the students will be divided into small groups (2-4 members) and asked to "lead" some of the exercises. The students will then have to work in groups and reflect on what data to look for, how to process it and what strategies to adopt in order to carry out the exercises they have been assigned, and pass on their findings to the rest of the class for constructive discussion.

The class is taught in Italian but slides and references are available in English.

Students who have a valid certification of physical or learning disability recorded at the University and who wish to discuss possible accommodations or other circumstances relating to lectures, courses and examinations should contact both the lecturers and Prof. Federico Scarpa (, the Polytechnic School disability contact person.

For further details, please refer to the course AulaWeb page (

Working students are advised to contact the lecturers at the beginning of the teaching in order to agree on teaching and examination arrangements that, while respecting the teaching objectives, take into account individual learning methods.


Introduction to GIS tools

Geographic Information Systems (GIS): operating logic and basic functionality, overview of application areas, existing software (mainly free and open source)

Numerical Cartography: conceptual and logical data models (raster and vector, fields and entities), nominal scale and resolution, topology, metadata and the INSPIRE European Directive

Recalls of Reference Systems and most used cartographic projections

Reference systems and cartographic projections: characteristics, international EPSG codes, process of georeferencing

GIS Data Sources

The official Italian cartography: features and availability

Digital Terrain Models (DTM): characteristics, data structures, interpolation methods

Photos and Orthophotos: notes on optical characteristics, acquisition procedures, storage formats; characteristics of orthophotos and satellite images

LiDAR and GNSS data: hints

Introduction to GeoWebServices: availability of geographic data and their use via web

Introduction to GeoDataBases: their structure and SQL queries

Introduction to QGIS

Project setup and data import into QGIS

Visualization and integration of multiple data sources

Importing WMS services and OpenStreetMap data

Management and simple analysis of DTMs in QGIS

Image management and georeferencing

Operational exercises

Morphological analysis of a DTM

Analysis of basins

Management and analysis of river sections and/or flood areas

Analysis of landslide susceptibility of a territory starting from geomorphologic, environmental and human factors predisposing to landslides

Analysis of cartography of hydro-geological risk propensity and impact on built areas and/or population (ISTAT data)

Analysis of the built area of a residential center from the point of view of age, type of structure, architectural constraints, ...

Analysis of land transformations through comparison of technical and thematic cartography or georeferenced historical images

Analysis of transport network for the territorial planning or the management of an emergency or the tourist fruition

Spatial analysis of observed data for environmental monitoring

Management of data from field surveys (GPS tracks and images)

Example of publishing GIS maps on the web


Class notes and materials provided to students.

Texts for further study:

C. Cambursano, 1997. "Numerical Cartography." Ed. Progetto Leonardo, Bologna.

F. Migliaccio, D. Carrion, 2016. "Spatial information systems. Principles and applications." UTET University. ISBN 978-88-6008-475-0



Class schedule

The timetable for this course is available here: Portale EasyAcademy



Oral exam (in Italian or in English), with the presentation and the discussion on an application realized by the students in small groups (2-4 components) and verification of the knowledge of the theoretical concepts of the class.


The exam consists in an oral test in which students present (via slides) and discuss an application made in small group (2-4 components). The application is typically inspired to the guided exercises carried out during the lectures, with appropriate insights, but can be agreed with the teachers on the basis of specific interests of students, for example a GIS analysis to be carried out as part of other classes or preparatory for the final thesis.

During the exam, the theoretical knowledge of the fundamental concepts for a correct management of geographic data is also ascertained (reference systems and cartographic projections, resolutions and precisions, basic processing techniques).

The final grade takes into account the quality of the presented application (originality, type of application, employed processing techniques and analysis, strategies for solving any problems encountered), the critical discussion of the obtained results, the expositive capacity, and the knowledge of theoretical concepts.


It is preferred, but it is not mandatory, that the application is carried out in small groups consisting of 2-4 students.

It is preferable, but it is not mandatory, that the entire group takes the exam in the same exam round.

It is requested that the slides of the presented application are delivered during the examination, either by sending them by email or by Microsoft Teams or by delivering them via an informatic device.


Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals

Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals
Quality education
Quality education
Gender equality
Gender equality
Reduce inequality
Reduce inequality
Sustainable cities and communities
Sustainable cities and communities
Life on land
Life on land


 PRO3 - Soft skills - Alfabetica base 1 - A
PRO3 - Soft skills - Alfabetica base 1 - A
 PRO3 - Soft skills - Personale base 1 - A
PRO3 - Soft skills - Personale base 1 - A
 PRO3 - Soft skills - Sociale base 1 - A
PRO3 - Soft skills - Sociale base 1 - A
 PRO3 - Soft skills - Alfabetica avanzato 1 - A
PRO3 - Soft skills - Alfabetica avanzato 1 - A
 PRO3 - Soft skills - Personale avanzato 1 - A
PRO3 - Soft skills - Personale avanzato 1 - A
 PRO3 - Soft skills - Sociale avanzato 1 - A
PRO3 - Soft skills - Sociale avanzato 1 - A
 PRO3 - Soft skills - Imparare a imparare avanzato 1 - A
PRO3 - Soft skills - Imparare a imparare avanzato 1 - A
 PRO3 - Soft skills - Creazione progettuale avanzato 1 - A
PRO3 - Soft skills - Creazione progettuale avanzato 1 - A